If you have been looking into your company’s SEO, you may have seen the terms “dofollow links” or “nofollow links.”
What the what do these mean?
Understanding links for SEO
First, it’s important to understand the role of links in SEO. Any SEO strategy should include “link building,” which simply means that you get other, high-quality websites to link to yours.
Search engines like Google use these links (technically, “hyperlinks”) to navigate or “crawl” across the web. They use links to look for new web pages, and to decide how to rank pages for relevant keywords. Search engines look at how many links point to that page from external websites, as well as the quality of those websites.
A hyperlink may go to a different page on the same website (for example, from a company’s “About Us” page to its blog page). Or it may go to a page on a different website (for example, from a company’s “Contact Us” page to its LinkedIn profile).
Search engines usually rank a page higher in search results if there are a lot of high-quality websites linking to it. That’s because those links act like a “recommendation” to the search engine.
What is a nofollow link?
“Nofollow” is an attribute, or feature, added to the code of a hyperlink on a web page. Web page owners can add “nofollow” to the links that take users from one page to another. A normal website user will not notice anything different about the link, but anyone who can see the link’s code can see the “nofollow” attribute.
When you add “nofollow” to a hyperlink, it tells Google’s PageRank metric not to consider the link in its crawling and search rankings. Therefore, the link will not affect the ranking of the target page.
A website may use nofollow if it does not control or trust the links added to its pages. This may happen when users can add links, such as in comments or wiki pages. High-ranking websites may automatically add “nofollow” to any links added by users. When a site uses nofollow, it not only removes its “vote of confidence” from the link, but it can help keep link spammers from abusing the site’s quality ranking and stealing that confidence.
Because users do not see a nofollow attribute, they can still click the link to navigate to your website. So nofollow links aren’t completely useless. However, for SEO link building purposes, most links to your site should not have nofollow attributes.
What is a dofollow link?
A “dofollow” link is a link that behaves as originally described: it signals that a search engine’s algorithms should follow the link and use it to determine search result rankings. Unlike nofollow, “dofollow” is the default of hyperlinks, so you don’t actually have to add a “dofollow” attribute.
Building dofollow links to your website or page is a long-term, “slow and steady” goal. This usually means creating interesting, unique, authoritative, problem-solving content that people will want to share and link to. Guest blogs and articles and interviews on other websites relevant to your audience can also help you build dofollow links.
Need to create great content for link building?
Strategizing and creating that great content takes time and effort. Sometimes that means working with an outside writer to help ensure all your content and SEO goals are met.
I help healthcare companies and marketing professionals strategize, research, and write great content, from blog posts to case studies, that increases traffic and revenue. I have a knack for researching my topics thoroughly, while keeping the style conversational and reader-friendly. Let’s connect! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit emjwriter.com.